Texas city demands Hurricane Harvey victims not boycott Israel

A fireplace sits in the middle of a trash pile in front of a flood damaged home on September 5, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)
A fireplace sits in the middle of a trash pile in front of a flood damaged home on September 5, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)

Residents of one city in the US state of Texas are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to Israel if they want to receive funds for Hurricane Harvey relief, an approach that civil liberties experts say is illegal.

The city of Dickinson, a suburb of Houston, is requiring residents to sign a no-boycott pledge in order to receive disaster aid to recover from Harvey, a devastating hurricane that made landfall in August.

David Olson, an attorney for Dickinson, said city officials are following a Texas law that prohibits state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

The so-called Anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) law was signed in May by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and took effect on September 1.

It was not immediately clear why citizens applying for disaster relief would be subject to a law that applies to state agencies and businesses.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sharply criticized the provision on Friday, calling it a violation of free speech rights.

“The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression,” ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura said in a statement.

“Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

The ACLU has pushed back on anti-BDS measures, filing a lawsuit earlier this month challenging anti-BDS legislation in Kansas.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause, including scores of international trade unions, NGOs, scientific institutions, academic societies, business associations and cultural figures.

The BDS campaign is also gaining momentum on US college campuses and churches.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his subordinates have called the BDS campaign a new form of terrorism against the Israeli regime.

Supporters of the movement, including a growing number of American Jews, have called such criticism a fear-mongering and divisive tactic meant to prevent legitimate debate about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

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Mennonite Math Teacher Sues Kansas For Not Hiring Her Because She Boycotts Israel

Issam Rimawi/Getty Images
Palestinians stage a protest against Israel’s separation wall.  

WASHINGTON ― A Mennonite curriculum coach in Kansas sued the state Wednesday for barring her from working as a state-contracted teacher trainer after she refused to certify she does not boycott Israel.

Esther Koontz made it to the final stages of the hiring process and had signed up to lead several trainings when the Kansas State Department of Education told her she could not get paid if she didn’t sign the anti-boycott document. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Koontz, claims the state requirement that contractors not participate in boycotts of Israel violates her right to free speech and equal protection,

The lawsuit is the first major legal challenge to legislation aimed at halting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. In the past three years, more than a dozen states have passed laws that restrict contracts with people or entities that boycott goods and services from Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. On the national level, a bill before Congress would make it a felony for Americans to boycott Israel, punishable by a fine of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison, The Intercept reported in July.

As these laws pop up across the country, BDS has become an increasingly divisive issue. Supporters say it is a nonviolent way to oppose Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories; critics say it is an anti-Semitic attempt to delegitimize Israel. The ACLU, which has long spoken out against anti-BDS legislation, argues that the measure passed in Kansas punishes individuals “based on their protected political beliefs and associations.”

Koontz is a member of the Mennonite Church USA, a Christian denomination that passed a resolution in July, “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” that calls on members to avoid “the purchase of products associated with acts of violence or policies of military occupation, including items produced in settlements.”

Around the same time the Mennonite Church passed its resolution, Kansas enacted HB 2409, a law that prohibits the state from entering into a contract with a person or a company unless they submit written certification that they are not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel or Israeli-controlled territories.

“It’s brazenly unconstitutional,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, who closely monitors anti-BDS laws on the state and national level.

Months before the Kansas bill went into effect, the veteran math teacher was selected to be a teacher trainer in the Kansas State Department of Education’s Math and Science Partnerships program, a job she planned to take on in addition to her regular duties as a curriculum coach in Wichita. She had completed the required coursework to become qualified as a trainer and signed up to perform three trainings, the complaint said.

But on July 10, days after HB 2409 went into effect, she was told she needed to fill out another form before she could get paid by the Kansas Department of Education. The form was titled: “Certification Individual or Company Not Currently Engaged in a Boycott of Israel.”

Koontz responded the following month.  “As a matter of conscience I am not able to sign this Boycott of Israel waiver. Will I still be able to train for KSDE this year and get paid?” she asked program consultant Melissa Fast.

“Unfortunately, the state will not allow me to pay you if it is not signed. I am sorry.” Fast wrote back.

Koontz has continued working as a curriculum coach at a public school in Wichita, but she cannot work as a teacher trainer, a job she had hoped would allow her to share her expertise, advance her career and earn additional income, said Brian Hauss, one of her lawyers at the ACLU.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, and Randall D. Watson, the state’s education commissioner, is listed as the defendant. Watson’s office referred all questions to the Office of the Kansas Attorney General, which said only that “it is reviewing the lawsuit.”

The ACLU has asked the court to declare that requiring Kansas state contractors to affirm they do not participate in the Israel BDS movement violates the First and 14th Amendments. The group has also asked the court to block the state from enforcing the measure until the case is over and to award Koontz “her costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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Being anti-Israel is anti-Texas, says Gov. Greg Abbott

AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott made a strong statement in support of Israel with his first public bill-signing ceremony Tuesday, putting his name to a measure to prevent state contracts with companies that boycott it.

“You can always count on Texas,” Abbott said at the Jewish Community Center here to sign the bill into law. “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy. Texas is not going to do business with any company that boycotts Israel.”

House Bill 89, which got bipartisan legislative support, would prevent government contracts and restrict specific state investments with companies

Being anti-Israel is anti-Texas, says Gov. Greg Abbott

AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott made a strong statement in support of Israel with his first public bill-signing ceremony Tuesday, putting his name to a measure to prevent state contracts with companies that boycott it.

“You can always count on Texas,” Abbott said at the Jewish Community Center here to sign the bill into law. “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy. Texas is not going to do business with any company that boycotts Israel.”

House Bill 89, which got bipartisan legislative support, would prevent government contracts and restrict specific state investments with companies that boycott Israel.

Joining Abbott were the bill’s author and sponsor, Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; along with Sens. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston; Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; and Don Huffines, R-Dallas.

Abbott has long been an advocate for Israel, a position in line with conservative Republicans and evangelical Christian voters. On Tuesday, he cited Israel’s cultural and economic connections to Texas, and called it an “essential international ally.”

He recalled meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu on a trip last year to Israel, saying the prime minister told him when his son visited Texas, he reported, “Texans are just like us.”

 “That’s exactly what my wife and I spoke about when we departed Israel,” Abbott said. ““We said people in Israel are just like Texans.”

 

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Texas city refuses to give people hurricane aid unless they pledge not to boycott Israel

A Texas city devastated by flooding after Hurricane Harvey is forcing recipients of financial aid to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the clause on Dickinson city council’s application form for relief funding violated free speech rights and was “reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths” requiring Americans to disavow Communism.

The city, 30 miles from Houston, was one of the areas hardest hit by Harvey. This week Dickinson authorities began accepting applications from individuals and businesses for grants from money donated for hurricane aid.

The form includes a clause headlined “verification not to boycott Israel”. It states: “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

The city’s attorney said he was following state law introduced in May which prohibits public bodies giving contracts to companies that boycott Israel.

But Andre Segura, the ACLU’s legal director for Texas, said: “The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression.

“Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

The ACLU said previous Supreme Court decisions had established the government could not require individuals to indicate political beliefs to obtain employment, contracts or benefits.

It said Dickinson’s application form was “unconstitutional”.

The city’s attorney, David Olsen, said the anti-boycott clause was required due to state law. He told ABC 13 the requirement would remain “until someone tells them differently”.

Texas governor Greg Abbott signed legislation requiring all state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel earlier this year.

“As Israel’s number one trading partner in the United States, Texas is proud to reaffirm its support for the people of Israel and we will continue to build on our historic partnership,” he said in May. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”

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This Texas town offers hurricane relief — if your politics are right


Floodwaters submerge cars and trucks at a dealership in Dickinson, Tex., on Aug. 27. (Galveston County Daily News via AP)

Nearly two months after Hurricane Harvey socked the Texas coastline, residents are still in the early stages of the costly and complicated cleanup process. Now in one Houston suburb, residents hoping to receive aid to help relaunch their lives have to factor Middle East political tensions into their recovery efforts.

The city of Dickinson, Tex., located about 30 miles southeast of Houston, recently posted applications online for relief grants “from the funds that were generously donated to the Dickinson Harvey Relief Fund,” the city’s website says. The application, however, includes a provision requiring applicants to promise not to boycott Israel.

Section 11 of the four page document is titled, “Verification not to Boycott Israel.”

The text reads: “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

The city attorney for Dickinson told a local television station he was only following a state law forbidding state agencies from doing business with Israel boycotters.

The aid grant application has triggered a strong rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union

“Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist Party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

The language is not out of nowhere.

In May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions) bill into law. The statute “prohibits all state agencies from contracting with, and certain public funds from investing in, companies that boycott Israel,” according to the governor’s website. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas,” Abbott said at the bill’s signing. “We will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.”

How the law would apply to individuals seeking disaster relief — rather than businesses seeking contracts — is unclear.

The BDS movement started in 2005 as a nonviolent protest of the country’s treatment of Palestinians. It involved a call to halt business with Israeli companies, as well as corporations doing business with Israel, as a way to put pressure on the Israeli government. Legislation in a number of states pushing back against BDS has followed, including proposals in the U.S. Congress.

But as the ACLU pointed out in the organization’s release on the Dickinson application, “The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment, and other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.”

Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging a similar anti-BDS law in Kansas.

In an interview with ABC 13, Dickinson’s city attorney David W. Olson said the city planned to follow the law and keep the provision in place until told to do otherwise.

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Houston Suburb to Harvey Relief Applicants: Don’t Boycott Israel

In the Houston suburb of Dickinson, residents are struggling to get their lives back on track. Hurricane Harvey devastated the city, destroying scores of homes and businesses. The city, fortunately, has a plan to help. Officials there are accepting applications for relief grants “from funds that were generously donated to the Dickinson Harvey Relief Fund.”

But there’s a catch.

The application, recently posted online, includes a provision requiring Dickinson residents to vow in writing that they will not boycott Israel. The relevant section, titled “Verification not to Boycott Israel,” reads:

By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.

The city attorney, David Olson, said Dickinson officials are following a Texas law that blocks state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

“The city in no way advocates on behalf of the underlying political issue, but we’re doing everything in our power to follow state law,” Olson told NBC News on Friday.

Gov. Gregg Abbott signed that legislation in May, declaring that “anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies.” The so-called Anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions) law took effect on Sept. 1.

The American Civil Liberties Union sharply criticized the boycott provision of the relief application as a violation of free speech.

Image: A volunteer looks for people wanting to be evacuated from the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas, Aug. 28, 2017.
A volunteer looks for evacuees amid floodwaters in Dickinson, Texas, Aug. 28, 2017. Rick Wilking / Reuters

“The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression,” ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura said in a statement.

“Dickinson’s requirement is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, reminiscent of McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist party and other forms of ‘subversive’ activity.”

It was not immediately clear why citizens applying for disaster aid would be subject to a law that nominally applies to state agencies and businesses.

A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general Ken Paxton said his office could not comment on the Dickinson application, but noted the state law is “specific to companies, not individual citizens.”

For more than a decade, the BDS movement has sought to punish Israel economically to protest the treatment of Palestinians. Its supporters lobby corporations and other institutions, including universities and colleges, to cut business ties with the Jewish state.

But critics say the movement threatens to delegitimize Israel, and the head of the Anti-Defamation League has said some BDS activism “plays out on the college campus in the form of anti-Semitic speech and incidents.”

The ACLU has pushed back on anti-BDS moves, filing a lawsuit earlier this month challenging anti-BDS legislation in Kansas.

“The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment,” the ACLU said in its statement on the Dickinson application, “and other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.

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Police Believe There Was More Than One Shooter During Las Vegas Massacre

Officers within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department believe that there was more than one shooter during the horrific mass shooting that killed 58 people and that officials are engaging in a coverup to hide this shocking information, according to a video report by investigative reporter Jake Morphonios.

The video, posted on the “End Times News Report” YouTube channel, details an interview Morphonios claims he conducted with a police officer who told him that it was the “sentiment” of many police that there was more than one shooter involved.

“I asked, is the metro PD investigating the possibility of multiple shooters, and was told, officially, no. Everything is focused in on the one gunman theory,” Morphonios detailed.

“However I was told that it was the sentiment of many police officers that there was more than one shooter involved, I pressed for details and wasn’t given any.”

Morphonios continued, “This officer was very forthcoming, told me a lot of stuff, but when I asked about the story of the glass being shot out of the Bellagio hotel the officer said no comment. Had been very forthcoming throughout the entire interview but when I got to that he said sorry I cannot talk about that.”

The officer also reportedly told the journalist that “no sense of normalcy had returned to Vegas at this point” and that due to the mass chaos the night of the shooting, police believe the attackers used diversions to lead police around the strip as they conducted their attack.

Keep in mind that the FBI is running the entire investigation and thus has the ability to release whatever disinformation they wish, knowing the mainstream press will immediately report it as fact.

The above report is by no means the only evidence that there was more than one shooter, in fact there are at least six different eyewitness reports that detail or prove multiple shooters even as the authorities and media desperately try to convince the American people that one old man conducted the largest mass shooting in the countries history.

As I recently reported, one of the shocking eyewitness reports came from a man named Gio Rios who posted what he saw before deleting it amid seemingly coordinated personal attacks.

“Facebook user and eyewitness Gio Rios has sent shockwaves throughout the internet after he not only confirmed he was present during the attack, he presented a variety of details that are were either unpublished or have been denied by authorities and the mainstream media.”

“There was more than one shooter, I believe there were 4-5 shooters and I saw/heard 4 of them,” Rios claimed. “There was one of their men down in the concert who lit firecrackers either to distract people…. or to decoy the Mandalay Bay shooter breaking the windows out of the hotel without being noticed right away.”

Other evidence includes video footage that clearly shows gunfire at the ground level as well as various other eyewitness accounts that have already been seen by millions.

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At least 50 dead, more than 400 hurt in Las Vegas concert attack

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Some 50 people died and more than 400 were hurt when a 64-year-old gunman with an arsenal of at least 10 rifles fired on Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, raining down bullets from a 32nd-floor window for several minutes before killing himself.

The death toll, which police emphasized was preliminary, would make the mass shooting the deadliest in U.S. history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando night club by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants.

Some 22,000 people were in the crowd when a man police identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire, sparking a panic in which some people trampled on others, as law enforcement officers scrambled to locate the gunman.

Shocked concertgoers, some with blood on their clothing, wandered the streets afterwards.

Police said they had no information about Paddock’s motive, that he had no criminal record and was not believed to be connected to any militant group. Paddock killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was firing from, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

(Slideshow by Photo Services)

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said.

A senior U.S. government official told Reuters that Paddock’s name was not on any database of suspected terrorists.

Lombardo said there were more than 10 rifles in the room where Paddock killed himself after checking into the hotel on Thursday.

The dead included one off-duty police officer, Lombardo said. Two on-duty officers were injured, including one who was in stable condition after surgery and one who sustained minor injuries, Lombardo said. Police warned the death toll may rise.

As sunrise approached, police were still finding people who had taken cover during the attack, Lombardo said.

“It’s going to take time for us to get through the evacuation phase,” Lombardo said.

‘JUST KEPT GOING ON’

Video of the attack showed panicked crowds fleeing as sustained rapid gunfire ripped through the area.

“People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona, who had flown in for the concert. He said the gunfire went on for an extended period of time.

“Probably 100 shots at a time,” Smith said. “It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again.”

Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting broke out shortly after 10 p.m. local time.

Shares of U.S. casino operators fell in early trading on Wall Street, with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, down 4 percent. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, Wynn Resorts Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp each fell 1 to 2 percent.

Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots ring out.

“It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks, after people ran over him in the panicked crowd.

The shooting broke out on the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival, a sold-out event featuring top acts such as Eric Church, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean said in a statement on Instagram. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone.”

‘WE’RE HORRIFIED’

The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned.

“We have no idea. We’re horrified. We’re bewildered and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock said in a brief telephone interview, his voice trembling. “We have no idea in the world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims via a post on Twitter.

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” said Trump, who was due to address the nation at 10:30 a.m. ET.

As with previous U.S. mass shootings, the incident sparked anger among advocates for gun control. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and gun-rights advocates staunchly defend that provision.

“It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where 26 young children and educators were killed in an attack on a school in 2012.

“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic.”

The rampage was reminiscent of a mass shooting at a Paris rock concert in November 2015 that killed 89 people, part of a wave of coordinated attacks by Islamist militants that left 130 dead.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen, Chris Michaud and Frank McGurty in New York, Susan Cornwell and Mark Hosenball in Washington, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Alison Williams and Bernadette Baum)

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Government Cover-up of a Mercury/Autism Scandal

World Mercury Project note: With the ongoing mainstream media blackout on questions regarding vaccine safety, we want to remind our followers of the publication–and subsequent retraction–of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s 2005 article “Deadly Immunity” in Salon. The history of repression of crucial vaccine safety data runs deep. The article laid out the scientific link between thimerosal and childhood neurological disorders and published explosive excerpts from the transcripts from the CDC’s secretive June 2000 Simpsonwood conference which brought together government public health officials, vaccine manufacturers and professional medical associations. The article was groundbreaking at the time and received lots of media attention for uncovering the cozy relationship between government and industry at the expense of children’s health. Even though a dozen years have passed, the article’s facts have stood the test of time. An important read for people new to the movement and long-time advocates alike.

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia.

Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session — only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly “embargoed.” There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

 “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism.”

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants — in one case, within hours of birth — the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. “You can play with this all you want,” Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results “are statistically significant.” Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting’s first day, was even more alarmed. “My gut feeling?” he said. “Forgive this personal comment — I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.”

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry’s bottom line. “We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country.” Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that “given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.” Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that “perhaps this study should not have been done at all.” He added that “the research results have to be handled,” warning that the study “will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group.”

…instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data.

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children’s health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to “rule out” the chemical’s link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten’s findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been “lost” and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants — but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines — including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to eleven-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government’s vaccine-related documents — including the Simpsonwood transcripts — and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the “Eli Lilly Protection Act” into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. The measure was repealed by Congress in 2003 — but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. “The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists,” says Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to Frist.

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government’s effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic,” his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. “This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin.” The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of “institutional malfeasance for self protection” and “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. I was drawn into the controversy only reluctantly. As an attorney and environmentalist who has spent years working on issues of mercury toxicity, I frequently met mothers of autistic children who were absolutely convinced that their kids had been injured by vaccines. Privately, I was skeptical.

I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source, and I certainly understood the government’s need to reassure parents that vaccinations are safe; the eradication of deadly childhood diseases depends on it. I tended to agree with skeptics like Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, who criticized his colleagues on the House Government Reform Committee for leaping to conclusions about autism and vaccinations. “Why should we scare people about immunization,” Waxman pointed out at one hearing, “until we know the facts?”

It was only after reading the Simpsonwood transcripts, studying the leading scientific research and talking with many of the nation’s pre-eminent authorities on mercury that I became convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real. Five of my own children are members of the Thimerosal Generation — those born between 1989 and 2003 — who received heavy doses of mercury from vaccines. “The elementary grades are overwhelmed with children who have symptoms of neurological or immune-system damage,” Patti White, a school nurse, told the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. “Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.”

“Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.”

More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism, and pediatricians diagnose more than 40,000 new cases every year. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among eleven children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931.

Some skeptics dispute that the rise in autism is caused by thimerosal-tainted vaccinations. They argue that the increase is a result of better diagnosis — a theory that seems questionable at best, given that most of the new cases of autism are clustered within a single generation of children. “If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis,” scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world’s authorities on mercury toxicity, “then where are all the twenty-year-old autistics?” Other researchers point out that Americans are exposed to a greater cumulative “load” of mercury than ever before, from contaminated fish to dental fillings, and suggest that thimerosal in vaccines may be only part of a much larger problem. It’s a concern that certainly deserves far more attention than it has received — but it overlooks the fact that the mercury concentrations in vaccines dwarf other sources of exposure to our children.

What is most striking is the lengths to which many of the leading detectives have gone to ignore — and cover up — the evidence against thimerosal. From the very beginning, the scientific case against the mercury additive has been overwhelming. The preservative, which is used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines, contains ethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Truckloads of studies have shown that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines — and that the developing brains of infants are particularly susceptible. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to much lower concentrations of ethylmercury than those given to American children still suffered brain damage years later. Russia banned thimerosal from children’s vaccines twenty years ago, and Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have since followed suit.

“You couldn’t even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe,” says Haley, who heads the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. “It’s just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage.”

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans. In 1930, the company tested thimerosal by administering it to twenty-two patients with terminal meningitis, all of whom died within weeks of being injected — a fact Lilly didn’t bother to report in its study declaring thimerosal safe. In 1935, researchers at another vaccine manufacturer, Pittman-Moore, warned Lilly that its claims about thimerosal’s safety “did not check with ours.” Half the dogs Pittman injected with thimerosal-based vaccines became sick, leading researchers there to declare the preservative “unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs.”

In the decades that followed, the evidence against thimerosal continued to mount. During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it “poison.” In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly’s own studies discerned that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million — 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as “nontoxic” and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck’s vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, “especially when used on infants and children,” noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. “The best way to go,” he added, “is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives.”

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this “cost consideration,” Merck ignored Hilleman’s warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received eleven vaccinations — for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of twenty-two immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. “What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?” Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. “Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?”

But by that time, the damage was done. At two months, when the infant brain is still at a critical stage of development, infants routinely received three inoculations that contained a total of 62.5 micrograms of ethylmercury — a level 99 times greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin. Although the vaccine industry insists that ethylmercury poses little danger because it breaks down rapidly and is removed by the body, several studies — including one published in April by the National Institutes of Health — suggest that ethylmercury is actually more toxic to developing brains and stays in the brain longer than methylmercury.

Officials responsible for childhood immunizations insist that the additional vaccines were necessary to protect infants from disease and that thimerosal is still essential in developing nations, which, they often claim, cannot afford the single-dose vials that don’t require a preservative. Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDC’s top vaccine advisers, told me, “I think if we really have an influenza pandemic — and certainly we will in the next twenty years, because we always do — there’s no way on God’s earth that we immunize 280 million people with single-dose vials. There has to be multidose vials.”

But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry. Dr. Sam Katz, the committee’s chair, was a paid consultant for most of the major vaccine makers and was part of a team that developed the measles vaccine and brought it to licensure in 1963. Dr. Neal Halsey, another committee member, worked as a researcher for the vaccine companies and received honoraria from Abbott Labs for his research on the hepatitis B vaccine.

Indeed, in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, such conflicts of interest are common. Rep. Burton says that the CDC “routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines,” even though they have “interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.” The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisers who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine “had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he “would make money” if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist’s direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. “It provides no conflict for me,” he insists. “I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country. It’s offensive to say that physicians and public-health people are in the pocket of industry and thus are making decisions that they know are unsafe for children. It’s just not the way it works.”

Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children’s health, proud of their “partnerships” with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children’s health. They are often resentful of questioning. “Science,” says Offit, “is best left to scientists.”

Still, some government officials were alarmed by the apparent conflicts of interest. In his e-mail to CDC administrators in 1999, Paul Patriarca of the FDA blasted federal regulators for failing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines. “I’m not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now,” Patriarca wrote. The close ties between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, he added, “will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use” of thimerosal in child vaccines.

If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines — which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense — over to a private agency, America’s Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research. It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC “wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe,” Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001. “We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect” of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee’s chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation” between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result “Walt wants” — a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.

For those who had devoted their lives to promoting vaccination, the revelations about thimerosal threatened to undermine everything they had worked for. “We’ve got a dragon by the tail here,” said Dr. Michael Kaback, another committee member. “The more negative that [our] presentation is, the less likely people are to use vaccination, immunization — and we know what the results of that will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of the trap, I think is the charge.”

Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.” Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.

In May of last year (2004), the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease. The IOM declared the case closed and — in a startling position for a scientific body — recommended that no further research be conducted.

The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were “fatally flawed” by “poor design” and failed to represent “all the available scientific and medical research.” CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because “an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?”

Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used in the Verstraeten study, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.

So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a “very significant relationship” between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.

As the federal government worked to prevent scientists from studying vaccines, others have stepped in to study the link to autism. In April, reporter Dan Olmsted of UPI undertook one of the more interesting studies himself. Searching for children who had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines — the kind of population that scientists typically use as a “control” in experiments — Olmsted scoured the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who refuse to immunize their infants. Given the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from a power plant. The other three — including one child adopted from outside the Amish community — had received their vaccines.

At the state level, many officials have also conducted in-depth reviews of thimerosal. While the Institute of Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa legislature was carefully combing through all of the available scientific and biological data. “After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism,” says state Sen. Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the investigation. “The fact that Iowa’s 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children’s vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone.” Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in thirty-two other states.

But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries — some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders “under review.”

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. “The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence,” says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. “The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It’s bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you’ve ever seen.”

It’s hard to calculate the damage to our country — and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases — if Third World nations come to believe that America’s most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It’s not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America’s enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers — many of them sincere, even idealistic — who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world’s poorest populations.

If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine.

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After several revisions to the article and nearly 6 years after the original publication date, Salon.com retracted the article from its website archives without consideration or opportunity for rebuttal. For the reasons behind why Salon.com pulled the article, click here

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Librarian Rejects ‘Racist’ Dr. Seuss Books Donated by Melania Trump

A Cambridge, Massachusetts, librarian refused several Dr. Seuss children’s books donated by First Lady Melania Trump, claiming the content is “steeped in racist propaganda.”

The First Lady donated ten Dr. Seuss titles to schools across the country in honor of National Read a Book Day, including, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” which Melania indicated she’d read to her son Barron “over and over.”

Cambridge Public Schools librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro thanked Melania for the “wonderful gesture,” but ultimately labeled Seuss works “a bit of a cliche” and said her library “would not be keeping the titles for our collection” due to their racist nature.

One “fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,“ Soeiro wrote in response to the First Lady.

“Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art,“ Soeiro explained.

The triggered librarian also pointed to a School Library Journal article entitled, “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books,” which analyzed the “minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss’s characters,” as an example of why Seuss books are racist.

Soeiro also referenced a book by Philip Nel, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, as proof the beloved children’s author embraced a racist ideology.

“I am honored that you recognized my students and our school. I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out,” Soeiro said in an Hbook.com blog post.

The First Lady’s communication director, Stephanie Grisham, called the librarian’s rejection “unfortunate,” and said the Melania just wants “to help as many children as she can.”

“She has demonstrated this in both actions and words since her husband took office, and sending books to children across the country is but one example,” Grisham said in a statement to Fox News. “To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere.”

Seuss’s grandnephew, Ted Owens, also took issue with the librarians’ representation of his great uncle’s works, defending the books and their numerous make-believe characters.

“I know one thing for sure — I never saw one ounce of racism in anything he said, or how he lived his life, or what his stories were about,” Owens told the Boston Herald, adding the charges were “preposterous.”

“When you have grinches and sneetches and all his other characters, how can you say that’s racist? His characters are based on made-up characters,” Owens said, according to the Herald. “They’re Sam-I-Am, they’re elephants, ‘Horton Hears a Who.’”

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, also slammed Soeiro for proposing Seuss had a hidden racist agenda.

“‘One fish — two fish — red fish — blue fish’ — I think her comments ‘stink’ and are ridiculous towards our beloved Dr. Seuss. We’re extremely proud to be home to the one and only Dr. Seuss Museum in the world. By the way, attendance has been through the roof, too!” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated.

“Her comments that this is ‘racist propaganda and that Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliche and a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature’ is ‘political correctness’ at its worst. …By the way, kudos to First Lady Melania Trump for her generous offer to donate Dr. Seuss books to that Cambridge school library — they don’t want them — we’ll take them and would be honored to have the First Lady and President Trump… visit.”

As pointed out by The Gateway Pundit, librarians didn’t seem to mind when Obama read, Green Eggs and Ham, at the 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll.

Update: Internet sleuths found a picture of Liz Phipps Soeiro dressed in a “Cat in the Hat” outfit from March 2015.


 

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